una de escepticismo: lectura de entrañas

¿La lectura de entrañas de los animales para predecir el futuro, es pseudociencia, o no?

La extispicina o aruspicina, y en particular -por poner una entraña concreta- la hepatomancia o hepatoscopia es casi el caso prototipico de pseudociencia adivinatoria. Los aruspices leen el higado de los animales y predicen el futuro. Un timo. Pero…

Resulta que Ciceron da una explicacion mas ambigua. Hay estafadores, y hubo una practica razonable:

Democritus believed that the ancients had wisely enjoined the inspection of the entrails of animals which had been sacrificed, because by their condition and colour it is possible to determine the salubrity or pestilential state of the atmosphere, and sometimes even what is likely to be the fertility or sterility of the earth. (Cic. Div. 1.131)

Y lo mismo nos cuenta Vitrubio, Libro I, capitulo IV, parrafo 9:

The precepts of the ancients, in this respect, should ever be observed. They always, after sacrifice, carefully inspected the livers of those animals fed on that spot whereon the city was to be built, or whereon a stative encampment was intended. If the livers were diseased and livid, they tried others, in order to ascertain whether accident or disease was the cause of the imperfection; but if the greater part of the experiments proved, by the sound and healthy appearance of the livers, that the water and food of the spot were wholesome, they selected it for the garrison. If the reverse, they inferred, as in the case of cattle, so in that of the human body, the water and food of such a place would become pestiferous; and they therefore abandoned it, in search of another, valuing health above all other considerations.

Pero por otro lado, hay un monton de textos antiguos sobre adivinacion, y ninguno lo enfoca de esta manera. ¿Hubo una practica cientifica y una imitacion degenerada que en cambio se hizo mas polular? ¿Coexistieron ambas?

Este debate ya surgio en el siglo XIX, y he encontrado online un PDF bastante agil de leer que resume la situación: THE PROTOTYPE OF THE MODERN MEAT- INSPECTOR. BY S. MENDELSOHN.

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